Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
No Thumbnail Available
Publication

The 'Union' Representation of 1703 in the Irish House of Commons: A case of mistaken identity?

2008-11, McGrath, Charles Ivar

In October 1703 the Irish House of Commons agreed a lengthy representation to Queen Anne which has since been used by historians as evidence of significant unionist sentiment in Ireland. This article examines the origin, context and purpose of the representation. In particular, it addresses the extent to which events in Ireland were influenced by the early negotiations for the Anglo-Scottish Union, and advocates a greater contextualisation of the evidence used to argue for the existence of pro- and anti-union sentiment in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Ireland.

No Thumbnail Available
Publication

Securing the Hanoverian Succession in Ireland: Jacobites, Money and Men, 1714-16

2014-03-03, McGrath, Charles Ivar

This article examines the connection between issues of security, finance and the army in Ireland in the years 1714–16. The death of Queen Anne and succession of the first Hanoverian monarch, George I, in August 1714, offered renewed hope to the supporters of the jacobite cause in Ireland, Scotland, England and beyond. However, the threat of a Stuart restoration by force of arms served to galvanise the efforts of government in both England and Ireland in support of the Hanoverian succession, though the necessary military preparations and precautions resulted in increased public expenditure. In Ireland, the government's need to find new sources of revenue meant that parliament would have to be convened, which, in turn, necessitated compliance with a series of constitutional practices which had evolved since the 1690s in relation to Poynings' Law and supply legislation. Yet, despite a threatened jacobite invasion, factional political manœuvring, as ever, demanded compromise, though, ultimately, the wholly protestant Irish parliament took the necessary precautions to secure Ireland for the new Hanoverian regime by voting new taxes and facilitating the creation of a national debt in order to raise new regiments for the army. The coalescing of the issues of security, finance and the army thereby led to innovations in Irish parliamentary and financial practice which were to become key components of the constitutional framework in Ireland until legislative independence in 1782.

No Thumbnail Available
Publication

'The Grand Question Debated': Jonathan Swift, Army Barracks, Parliament and Money

2016, McGrath, Charles Ivar

Jonathan Swift made a name for himself in England in the years 1710-14 taking issue in print with, among other things, Standing Armies, the British National Debt and Westminster MPs who seemed too willing to vote new taxes at the behest of the Whitehall government. After more than a decade of silence on such subjects, Swift re-visited them in the late 1720s and early 1730s in relation to Ireland as part of his more general expression of anger at what was, in his eyes, fundamentally wrong with Hanoverian government in the British Isles. This article assesses his reasons for doing so, commencing with a detailed consideration of the 1728 Poem, 'The Grand Question debated: Whether Hamilton's Bawn should be turned into a Barracks or a Malt-House'. It then proceeds to examine in a series of other works by Swift up to 1733 the key emerging themes of government patronage of MPs in return for the voting of additional taxation and increases to the national debt and the expenditure of that increased income on the military, in particular for the building of a country-wide network of army barracks in Ireland. In so doing the article looks to address the place of such matters in Ireland, and how they help us better understand the nature of Irish society at that time.

No Thumbnail Available
Publication

Central Aspects of the Eighteenth-Century Constitutional Framework in Ireland: The Government Supply Bill and Biennial Parliamentary Sessions, 1715-82

2001-07, McGrath, Charles Ivar

In the period 1692-1714, the Irish constitution was redefined through a process of political conflict and compromise between the executive and legislature over the question of the provision of money for the government's financial needs. The conflict centred upon two central elements of the existing constitution: Poynings' law and the crown's prerogative in initiating supply legislation. The resulting compromise constitutional framework was characterised by five principles, two of which concerned the government supply bill in the first session of a new parliament and the use by the House of Commons of supply legislation as a means of ensuring biennial parliamentary sessions. This article addresses the question of the application of these two principles in the period 1715-82, and examines the extent to which the politics of supply resulted in further alterations within the constitutional framework prior to legislative independence in 1782.

No Thumbnail Available
Publication

English Ministers, Irish Politicians and the Making of a Parliamentary Settlement in Ireland, 1692-5

2004-06-01, McGrath, Charles Ivar

In the first post-Glorious Revolution Parliament in Ireland in 1692, a constitutional crisis erupted over the House of Commons’ claim to have the ‘sole and undoubted right’ to initiate financial supply legislation in Ireland, and their rejection of the majority of the government’s legislative programme, including the most substantial provisions for financial supply. Not only did the ‘sole right’ claim result in the loss of desperately needed income for the government, it also represented an attack upon the existing constitutional framework in Ireland, in particular Poynings’ Law and the Crown’s prerogative in initiating legislation. The hasty prorogation of Parliament following these events led to political impasse in Ireland at the end of 1692. This article details the endeavours that were made to break that impasse, and examines the roles taken by leading English ministers, in particular those associated with the Whig party, and by a new generation of Irish politicians, many of whom were also whiggish in inclination, in the negotiation of a compromise settlement in 1694–5. The compromise solution eventually agreed upon in early 1695 resulted later in that year in the summoning of a new Irish Parliament, in which substantial necessary financial supplies were voted for the government. In the longer term, the 1695 compromise came to form the basis for a new constitutional framework for Irish executive-legislature relations that facilitated the advent of regular parliamentary sessions on a biennial basis in Ireland in the eighteenth century.

No Thumbnail Available
Publication

Securing the Protestant Interest: The Origins and Purpose of the Penal Laws of 1695

1996-05, McGrath, Charles Ivar

The origin and the purpose of the Irish penal laws have always been subjects of contention. These laws have often been viewed as a ‘rag-bag’ of legislation, lacking in government policy, without precedent or forethought, motivated by rapacity, unfavoured in England and yet tolerated in return for concessions by an Irish parliament greedy for Catholic land and wealth. However, in the context of the first two Irish penal laws of 1695, and most specifically the disarming act, this generality does not hold good. It is the aim of this article to show that the two penal laws of 1695, for disarming Catholics and prohibiting foreign education, were the result of a definite policy which existed in Ireland from the time of the Williamite war. This policy was built upon a previous tradition of English statutes and Irish proclamations. The pressure for this policy came not only from Irish Protestants, but also from English ministers and from the crown. And the prime motive was security of the Protestant interest. Victory at Limerick in October 1691 did not end the threat to the Williamite Protestant interest in Ireland. Fear of Catholic Europe remained constant as long as William III was at war with France, a fear that was heightened by the activities of privateers and rapparees. In the search for greater security, a policy developed for disarming Irish Catholics, which was actively supported by William III and his executive and legislature in England, was implemented by the executive in Ireland, and was encouraged and promoted by the Irish Protestant interest.

No Thumbnail Available
Publication

Government, parliament and the constitution: the reinterpretation of Poynings' Law, 1692-1714

2006-11, McGrath, Charles Ivar

The history of Poynings’ Law is complex and multifaceted. Much has been written about it, at times with the end result being a recognition that to investigate Poynings’ Law is to venture into a quagmire. At the same time, a number of important works have been published over the years that throw light upon specific periods in the history of that law. Until recently, much of the focus has been on the period stretching from the passage of the law in 1494-5 up to 1641, with some significant excursions into the eighteenth-century history of the law. Two newer studies demonstrate a shift in focus: one a detailed study of the 1640s; the other a broader work on the history of the law from 1660 to 1800. However, at present, gaps still remain in our knowledge of the subject, particularly for the last one hundred and forty years of the law’s existence. This article aims to fill one such gap, by focusing upon the period 1692-1714.